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On this page: Aeserninus – Aesion – Aeson – Aesonides – Aesopus



§ 3), Argos (ii. 23. § 4), Aegium (ii. 23. § 5), Pellene (vii. 27. § 5), Asopus (iii. 22. § 7), Pergamum (iii. 26. § 7), Lebene in Crete, Smyrna, Balagrae (ii. 26. § 7), Ambraeia (Liv. xxxviii. 5), at Rome and other places. At Rome the worship of Aesculapius was introduced from Epidaurus at the command of the 'Delphic oracle or of the Sibylline books, in b. c. 293, for the purpose of averting a pestilence. Respecting the miraculous manner in which this was effected see Valerius Maximus (i. 8. $2), and Ovid. (Met. xv. 620, &c.; comp. Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome^ iii. p. 408, &c. ; Liv. x. 475 xxix. 11; Suet. Claud. 25.)

The sick, who visited the temples of Aescula­pius., had usually to spend one or more nights in his sanctuary (KaOeuSetP, incubare, Paus. ii. 27 § 2), during which they observed certain rules prescribed by the priests. The god then usually revealed the remedies for the disease in a dream. (Aristoph. Pint. 662, &c.; Cic. De Div. ii. 59; Philostr. Vita Apollon. i. 7 ; Jambl. De Myst. iii. 2.) It was in allusion to this incubatio that many temples of Aesculapius contained statues repre­senting Sleep and Dream. (Paus. ii. 10. § 2.) Those whom the god cured of their disease offered a sacrifice to him, generally a cock (Plat. Pliaed. p. 118) or a goat (Paus. x. 32. § 8 ; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 380), and hung up in his temple a tablet recording the name of the sick, the disease, and the manner in which the cure had been effected. The temples of Epidaurus, Tricca, and Cos, were full of such votive tablets, and several of them are still extant. (Paus. ii. 27. § 3 ; Strab. viii. p. 374 ; comp. Diet, of Ant. p. 673.) Re­specting the festivals celebrated in honour of Aes­culapius see Diet, of Ant. p. 103, &c. The various surnames given to the god partly describe him as the healing or saving god, and are partly derived from the places in which he was worshipped. Some of his statues are described by Pausanias. (ii. 10. § 3, x. 32. § 8.) Besides the attributes mentioned in the description of his statue at Epi­daurus, he is sometimes represented holding in one hand a phial, and in the other a staff ; sometimes also a boy is represented standing by his side, who is the genius of recovery, and is called Telesphorus, Euamerion, or Acesius. (Paus. ii. 11. § 7.) We still possess a considerable number of marble statues and busts of Aesculapius, as well as many representations on coins and gerns. (Bb'ttiger, Amaltliea, i. p. 282 ; ii. p. 361 ; Hirt. Mythol. Bilderl). i. p. 84 ; Miiller, Plandb. der Arch'dol. p. 597, &c. 710.)

There were in antiquity two works which went under the name of Aesculapius, which, however, were no more genuine than the works ascribed to Orpheus. (Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. i. p. 55, &c.)

The descendants of Aesculapius were called by the patronymic name Asclepiadae. ('AovcATjTrfaSai.) Those writers, who consider Aesculapius as a real personage, must regard the Asclepiadae as his real descendants, to whom he transmitted his medical knowledge, and whose principal seats were Cos and Cnidus. (Plat, de Re PuU. iii. p. 405, &c.) But the Asclepiadae were also regarded as .an order or caste of priests, and for a long period the practice of medicine was intimately connected with religion. The knowledge of medicine was regarded as a sacred secret, which was transmitted from father to son in the families of the Asclepia-


dae, and we still possess the oath which every one was obliged to take when he was put in possession of the medical secrets. (Galen, Anat. ii. p. 128 ; Aristid. Orat. i. p. 80; comp. K. Sprengel, Gesch. der Medicin, vol. i.) [L. S.]

AESERNINUS. [marcellus.]

AESION (A*ViW), an Athenian orator, was a contemporary of Demosthenes, with whom he was educated. (Suidas, s. v. ATj/xotfOez^s.) To what party he belonged during the Macedonian time is uncertain. When he was asked what he thought of the orators of his time, he said, that when he heard the other orators, he admired their beautiful and sublime conversations with the people, but that the speeches of Demosthenes, when read, ex­ celled all others by their skilful construction and their power. (Hermippus, ap. Plut. Dem. 10.) Aristotle (Rhet. iii. 10) mentions a beautiful ex­ pression of Aesion. [L. S.J

AESON (Aftrwi/), a son of Cretheus, the founder of lolcus, and of Tyro, the daughter of Salmoneus. He was excluded by his step-brother Pelias from his share in the kingdom of Thessaly. He was father of Jason and Promachus, but the name of his wife is differently stated, as Polymede, Alcimede, Amphinome, Polypheme, Polymele, Arne, and Scarphe. (Apollod. i. 9. § 11 and §16; Horn. Od. xi. 258 ; Tzetz. ad Lycopkr. 872 ; Diod. iv. 50 ; Schol. ad Apollon. i. 45 ; Schol. ad Horn. Od. xii. 70.) Pelias endeavoured to secure the throne to himself by sending Jason awav with the Argonauts, but when one day he was surprised and frightened by the news of the return of the Argonauts, he attempted to get rid of Aeson by force, but the latter put an end to his own life. (Apollod. i. P. § 27.) According to an account in Diodorus (iv. 50), Pelias compelled Aeson to kill himself by drinking ox's blood, for he had received intelligence that Jason and his companions had perished in their expedition. According to Ovid (Met. vii. 163, 250, &c.), Aeson survived the return of the Argonauts, and was made young again by Medeia. Jason as the son of Aeson is called Aesonides. (Orph. Arg. 55.) [L. S.]

AESONIDES. [aeson.]

AESOPUS (AftrcoTros), a writer of Fables, a species of composition which has been denned " analogical narratives, intended to convey some moral lesson, in which irrational animals or objects are introduced as speaking." (Philolog. Museum, i. p. 280.) Of his works none are extant, and of his life scarcely anything is known. He appears to have lived about b.c. 570,for Herodotus (ii. 134) mentions a woman named Rhpdopis as a fellow-slave of Aesop's, and says that she lived in the time of Amasis king of Egypt, who began to reign b. c. 569. Plutarch makes him contemporary with Solon (Sept. Sap. Conv. p. 152, c.), and Laertius (i. 72) says, that he nourished about the 52th Olympiad. The only apparent authority against this date is that of Suidas (s. v. AiVcoTros); but the passage is plainly corrupt, and if we adopt the correction of Clinton, it gives about b. c. 620 for the date of his birth; his death is placed b. c. 564, but may have occurred a little later. (See Clinton, Fast. HelL vol. i. pp. 213, 237, 239.)

Suidas tells us that Samos, Sardis, Mesembria in Thrace, and Cotioeum in Phrygia dispute the honour of having given him birth. We are told that he was originally a slave, and the reason o£ his first writing fables is given by Phaedrus. (iii.

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